This is the tiny nativity set that accompanied Heidi Hyser on her journeys.

Nativity sets from around the world on display at Comox Valley Presbyterian

“Joy to the World!”, being held Dec. 19 and 20 1

  • Dec. 15, 2014 7:00 p.m.

Jessie Schut

Special to the Record

When you’re on an extended bicycle tour and space in your saddlebags is limited, the last thing you might take along is a nativity set.  But that’s what Comox resident Heidi Hyser  packed with her on a trip that took her halfway around the world.

Hyser purchased her nativity set in a market in Mexico when she was on an extended bicycle adventure in 1988.

The set accompanied her to Guatemala, where she celebrated Christmas, then down the coast to Tierra del Fuego, back up again to Rio de Janeiro, across the ocean to Europe, back again to the US, and after several years, has found a more permanent home here in Comox.

“It only cost me a dollar back then,” she says, “but it’s worth a million to me, now, with all the memories it brings back.”

In contrast, Joan Morrison’s set is as local as you can get, made of driftwood she’s found on the beaches.

“When I hold a little piece of driftwood, I can immediately see a figure in it,” she says. She creates nativity scenes with the driftwood, clothing the figures with scraps of cloth and adding details such as a shiny star.

You can view a selection of nativity sets from around the world at “Joy to the World!”,  being held at Comox Valley Presbyterian Church Dec. 19 and 20.

The event will also include a children’s activity area, live music, and a local woodcarver working on a set.

Hyser’s and Morrison’s sets will be part of an extensive display at the church, which will include scenes created from wood, glass, ceramic and cloth by craftsmen in Ecuador, Peru, Africa, Israel, the Philippines, and many more countries.

“We’re really excited about this first-time event,” says church pastor Jenn Geddes. “We hope that the community will be blessed as they view the Christmas story told through the craftsmanship of many cultures. Jesus’ message of love circles the world.”

Comox Valley Presbyterian Church, located at 725 Aspen Rd. in Comox, is wheelchair accessible. The display will be open to seniors and those with mobility issues Friday, Dec. 19, from 2-4 p.m., and to the general public from 5-8 p.m., and Saturday Dec. 20 from 11-4 p.m.

Admission is free. For more information, check out the church’s website at  or phone the church office at 250-339-2882.


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